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Seven finals reached, two medals won and two club records smashed

Four Deepings Swimming Club swimmers qualified for the 2019 East Midlands Age Group Regional Championships which took place at the Corby International Pool last weekend.

Jessica O’Herlihy, Molly Briers, Lilly Tappern and Alex Sadler competed against the best swimmers from across Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire at the long course championships.

Over a thrilling weekend of competition, the quartet reached seven finals, won two medals and broke two Deepings club records from their 23 races, making it the club’s most successful championships in recent years.

The Deepings quartet which competed at the 2019 East Midlands Regional Championships at Corby last weekend. From the left: Alex Sadler, Jessica O’Herlihy, Molly Briers and Lilly Tappern. (9472144)
The Deepings quartet which competed at the 2019 East Midlands Regional Championships at Corby last weekend. From the left: Alex Sadler, Jessica O’Herlihy, Molly Briers and Lilly Tappern. (9472144)

On the first day of competition, Alex Sadler got the boys events underway in fine style, swimming a new personal best to make the 12yrs age group 100m butterfly final.

That new mark was short-lived, however, as Alex went even quicker in the final, swimming 1:13.67 to touch home in third place and win the bronze medal.

Alex was just outside his best times in his other four events, the 50m and 200m freestyle, and 50m and 200m backstroke, but put in a series of excellent performances to be one of the top-placed Lincolnshire swimmers in each.

Thirteen-year-old Jessica O’Herlihy competed in three events on the first day, starting with a strong swim in the 400m freestyle.

She set a new personal best in the 100m backstroke, but saved her best for her last event, the 50m butterfly, where she lowered her own personal best by more than a second to reach the final.

Jessica then went even faster, dipping below 32 seconds for the first time to record 31.97, which swept her to fifth place in the final.

Also making finals on day one was Lilly Tappern.

In the 200m individual medley, she broke her own 11yrs age group club record in both the heats and the final, finishing sixth overall in a new benchmark of 2:46.48, while in the 200m butterfly she was close to medalling, with an excellent fourth-place finish.

Lilly also put in a solid performance in the 50m butterfly, finishing 24th overall.

Completing the first day action was Molly Briers.

The thirteen-year-old set a new long course personal best of 2:54.34 in the 200m butterfly and was within touching distance of making the final but missed out by less than a second to finish ninth overall. However, it marked a huge improvement from last year’s regional championships, when she came 15th.

Day two brought more finals and a second medal as the quartet continued their impressive form.

Alex had another heavy schedule, with five events over the two sessions. He made the finals in the 50m and 200m butterfly, and also raced in the 100m and 400m freestyle, and 200m individual medley.

In the 50m butterfly final, Alex set a new personal best to finish seventh in 33.62, but he saved something really special for the 200m final.

After setting a two-second personal best in the heats to qualify second fastest, Alex took a sensational 10 seconds off his new best to storm home for gold in a time of 2:42.29.

Lilly also took her superb form into day two, setting a brace of personal bests in the 100m butterfly.

She swam 1:16.39 in the heats and followed that with a 1:14.76 in the final to finish fifth – her second Deepings club record of the weekend. Lilly set another long course personal best in the 200m freestyle.

The personal bests kept flowing as Molly set a new benchmark in the 100m butterfly, emphasising Deepings’ strength in the event.

She took a second off her previous time with a resilient swim to finish 15th in 1:17.05, third best of the Lincolnshire club swimmers.

Jessica completed her weekend of action with new personal bests in the 50m backstroke (35.31) and 100m butterfly (1:15.29).

She finished 12th in the latter, but was the second placed Lincolnshire swimmer. Jessica also qualified for the 200m freestyle, her sixth event of the weekend, finishing 24th.

Lynn Chapman, Deepings Swimming Club head coach, said: “The team did the club and themselves proud with some outstanding performances from each of them.

“They should all be looking to use this experience as a springboard for the future – if they work hard they have a chance to be competing at a high level over the next few years.”

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